Cape May County is a treasure trove of thrills, games, specialty seafood, happy hour specials, traditional family-style restaurants, beach gear, breakfast favorites, and relaxing rituals. Yet with its six hundred and twenty square-mile span, this Jersey shore county can be quite daunting. With all this ground to cover, where should you even begin? This week’s island hop commences in Cape May County’s charming Victorian seaside town, Cape May. Breakfast is served compliments of Cape May Bakers, home to a variety of tempting pastries. Their pastries are made on the premises daily with European butter cream and the freshest, finest ingredients available. Cape May Bakers’ donuts are hand-cut and filled or glazed with customer’s favorite flavors. Start your day with a scone, Danish, croissant, or their famous iced cinnamon rolls, grab a coffee, and gear up for an awesome Cape May County day.
For a guilt-free beach day, walk off that rich Cape May Bakers Pastry while exploring Cape May history. Head toward the Point for a morning climb of the Cape May Lighthouse. Atop all 199 of the tower’s cast iron steps exists the arguably best view of historic Cape May. The lighthouse’s present tower is the third documented lighthouse at the southern tip of New Jersey and promises visitors a glimpse into the intriguing lives of its past keepers’ and their families.
After this intrepid climb, kick back on Cape May’s clean beaches. Rather keep moving? Set your sights on Washington Street Mall to stroll and browse its dozens of one-of-a-kind, family-owned boutiques. Snag some Cape May destination tees courtesy of the Great White Shark. Great White Shark specializes in sizes from 6 months to 6XL and features some of the funniest tees around. If you’re looking for an outfit for a night out, Washington Street Mall merchants have you covered. Free Shop offers dresses, tees, tunics, skirts, swimsuits, cover-ups, and all the jewels necessary to accessorize in top designer names for trendsetting ladies.
New to the Mall this summer season, Galvanic specializes in men’s apparel, swim and surf accessories, and even men’s skin care. As the exclusive East Coast retailer of Rob Dyrdek’s newest sunglass line, IVI, Galvanic is ahead of the curve in cutting edge eyewear. But the store’s most exciting new offering has to be its custom line of “handplanes” imported directly from their Hawaiian manufacturer. Fasten one of these to your lead hand when bodysurfing Cape May County waves and experience increased speed when pulling into the wave’s barrel, higher lift out of the water, and increased pull into the wave so you never miss a good one again. Galvanic is the ONLY retailer within a 30 mile radius.
Post-shopping excursion, head for North Cape May to grab a bite at the brand-new 5 West Pub. Serving a unique fusion of fine dining and pub fare, 5 West has already become a popular Happy Hour destination. From 4-6 PM daily, 5 West features a half priced appetizer menu and awesome drink specials. Be sure to sample their Specialty Pizza of the Day, wood fired and varied each day of the week.
Make the next day a Wildwoods day, starting on the island’s northern tip for a Star Diner breakfast. Stick with the classics with choices of pancakes, stuffed French toast, or a custom omelet. Or experiment with a Star Diner signature such as the Delta Cajun Omelet featuring hot Italian sausage, tomatoes, green peppers, onions, Cajun spices, and mozzarella cheese. Late risers need not worry. Star Diner serves breakfast all day long…Explore the streets of Wildwood with family or friends aboard a Smitty’s surrey or cruiser. Smitty’s provides bike rentals for as low as $8 an hour for a single bike, making bicycling affordable for any budget. Perfect for a post-breakfast cruise, Smitty’s offers a two-for-one special any time after 11 a.m. where you can ride two hours for the price of one hour. All bikes are rented on an hourly basis, so you won’t find yourself paying for an entire day if you only plan on a quick ride before the beach or boardwalk.
Hit the Wildwoods boards that evening for a taste of Cape May County’s caramel goodness. Johnson’s Popcorn is proud to debut a brand new Wildwoods Boardwalk location. This always fresh and crunchy caramel popcorn has made a major name for itself as a staple on the Ocean City boardwalk and has now brought its irresistible flavor to the Wildwoods. The Chocolate Drizzle and Peanut Crunch are also excellent choices. You can’t go wrong with Johnson’s. Snack on your popcorn and enjoy the show as performers such as the Duffy String Band and the Irish Pipe Brigade take the boardwalk each evening.
For a more complete meal, set your sights on The Crab House at Two Mile Landing. Its owners, the Hansen’s, catch their own fresh local fish, crabs, and conch daily. Cape May County locals are invited to enjoy Tuesday night’s “In the Biz” night. Present a current pay stub from a local county business and receive 10% off your entire check. Reggae superstars such as Cultureal keep diners entertained from 8-midnight. Elsewhere on the island, the Wharf’s sunset deck heats up with different dinner specials each day of the week. Enjoy Monday’s half-priced raw bar, Tuesday’s Taco Night, or Thursday’s Burger Night and rock out to the live sounds of local favorites such as Bauer & Shea, Jimmy B., Perry’s Ashes, Ten Eddy Drive, Sindi Raymond, Juliano Brothers, and Vince Schneider. As the sun sets, North Wildwood’s pub scene comes to life. Owen’s Pub of 17th Avenue keeps the party going until 3 a.m. with appearances by lively local DJ’s.
By Megan Kummer